School of Social and Political Science

Middle East Research Group


The Middle East Research Group hosts interdisciplinary research activities undertaken by academic staff and postgraduates from across the College of Humanities and Social Science with a research interest and expertise on the modern and contemporary politics of the Middle East. Our members's work has been internationally recognised, as illustrated by: the various research grants we obtained, such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie and the Leverhulme fellowships; our editorial affiliations  with University of Edinburgh Press and journals like Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory; our involvement as consultants with international organisations such as UNESCO, UN Women, International Centre for Transitional Justice, and the World Bank and with professional associations such as the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Council. Our publications have also received prizes and award nominations. Members of the group were also active in the establishment of the Middle East Network in Scotland, which brings together scholars of the region who are based in Scottish universities.

Key Research Themes:

  • Critical political economy of the Middle East
  • International law and the Middle East
  • International Relations and the Middle East
  • Humanitarianism
  • Political Islam
  • Social movements
  • Social and political theories of the state
  • Gulf politics
  • Social and political theories in the Middle East
  • Politics and sociology of knowledge


Research Group Convenor(s):


Research Group Activities: 

Our Middle East Research Group (MERG) seminar series is an interdisciplinary space that is geared towards discussing  work-in-progress by PhD and MS by Research students at UoE, whose research focuses on the modern and contemporary Middle East politics. UoE graduate students in research degrees, fellows and colleagues whose research is related to the region are welcome to join the seminar series. Our Contemporary Middle East Series (CMES), sponsored by Politics and IR, hosts public lectures, roundtables and teach-ins on modern and contemporary issues related to the region. To date, this interdisciplinary series has featured book launches, research workshops, and roundtables by scholars and experts who are based in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Please visit the PIR Events Page to sign up: 

2022-23 Seminar Series Schedule

Semester One

  • 6 October, 2022: Katerina Dalacoura, The International Thought of Turkish Islamists: History, Civilisation and Nation. 17:30 – 19:00.
  • 11 October, 2022: Jamie Allinson, The Age of Counter-Revolution: States and Revolution in the Middle East. 17:30-19:00.
  • 8 November, 2022: Salman Abu Sitta, On the Centenary of the British Mandate Era in Palestine (1922-1948). 16:15-18:00.
  • 22 November, 2022: Lisa Hajjar, Guantanamo’s Legacy: From a Legal Black Hole to a Battleground in the Fight Against Torture.
  • 1 December, 2022: Marlene Schäfers, Projecting Sovereignty ‘not yet’: On the Political Potency of Photography in Kurdistan. 13:00-14:30.

Semester Two

  • 26 January, 2023: Omar Sirri, Bureaucraft: Statemakers in Amman and Baghdad. 1.00-2.30pm.
  • 7 February, 2023: Jose Martinez, States of Subsistence: the Politics of Bread in Contemporary Jordan. 1.00-2.30pm.
  • 23 February, 2023: Nida Alahmad, The Elusive Business of Capturing the State: Theoretical Reflections on 100 Years of State Consolidation in Iraq. 1.00-2.30pm

Research-led Teaching:

Please find below a list of courses that our representative of the Middle East Research Group's work;

  • Politics of the Middle East, PLIT10036 (UG)
  • Law, Violence, and Humanity, PLIT10125 (UG)
  • Political Islam, PLIT10089 (UG)
  • Gulf Politics, PLIT11020 (UG)
  • Politics of Oil, PLIT10123 (UG)
  • Social Movements and Collective Action in the Middle East, PLIT10128 (UG) 
  • The Middle East in International Relations, PGSP11275 (PG)

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